The Helix of Life

helix of lifeWell, I’m back here again. I’m facing the same issue that I faced before, perhaps with a slightly different facade. I learned a lot last time, and I thought that maybe I had a handle on things, but no. Apparently not.

You might be wondering what exactly it is that I’m dealing with, but it kind of doesn’t matter, does it?  I might be dealing with a psycho-spiritual on/off switch, but that’s not the point in this case.  Haven’t we all gone through this? You realize there’s an issue, whether overtly sinful or just problematic, and you work at it, and you seem to find some relief or success, and then weeks, months, maybe years later, you realize that the same thing is happening all over again.  Welcome to the Helix of Life.

Sometimes it’s a circle.  But I hope not.  At least, not always.  I’ve got a hopelessness issue wedged in my soul someplace, but this is one place where I do have some hope to grab onto.  Yes, we’re back in the same place.  Yes, it’s the same dumb thing we dealt with last time.  Yes, we learned a lot and grew.  Yes, we seemed to get beyond it.  So why are we here again?

And that’s the helix.  I don’t think we’re actually in the same place again.  We’ve come full circle, but only in a two-dimensional sense (there’s just a bit of my math/science nerdiness coming out).  If we look at our progress from a different angle, if we change our perspective, maybe we’re not looking at a circle as much as we’re looking at a spiral, a helix.  If we look from the top, we’re back at the same place we were before, it’s true.  But from the side, perhaps we’re actually lower than we were before (or higher, depending on your spiritual metaphor).  Something has changed.  Even though it looks the same, maybe something is different.  Sinlessness doesn’t seem to be possible in this life (even Peter blew it after being filled with the Spirit – see Gal. 2:11-13), but progress is.  So whatever this issue is, we may never be free from it completely.  Maybe we’ll always have a bitterness issue or an urge to gossip or a drive to use shopping or sex or chocolate or work to satisfy the need that only God can meet.  And those issues will spring up over and over again, just like the crocuses in my old front yard every spring.  But maybe this year, you’ve learned a little – grown closer to Christ, are faster to seek forgiveness, are less tempted to hide, are more assured of His love.

It’s so easy to despair or chastise yourself or determine that you’re never going to do this again because you’re back where you were.  But maybe you’re not back where you were, not quite.  Perhaps you’re only looking from the top of the spiral.

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One response

  1. Christy Summers

    Hi Matthew. I really loved this. It reminds me of what I call the “slinky effect”. No, not acting slinky, silly. But I’m sure you remember the toy. Well when you hold the top of it and it hangs down and you follow the coil around and around it keeps coming around to the same place, yet deeper and not really in the same place at all. Our God loves us so much that He is completely thorough…completely. Thank you dear friend for the reminder.

    August 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm

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